Hong Kong police fire tear gas at protesters in fresh clashes

:: Peoples Time Online ::

Riot police have fired tear gas and baton-charged protesters in Hong Kong, as a tense standoff turned violent on the 12th week of protests.

Thousands of demonstrators, many in hard hats and gas masks, marched through the industrial Kwun Tong area on Saturday and were met by police.

Some protesters launched stones from slingshots, prompting police to charge.

The demonstrations were sparked by an extradition bill but have since morphed into broader anti-government protests.

The protesters on Saturday faced off with police for several hours outside a police station in Kwun Tong, having constructed barricades from bamboo poles and traffic barriers.

They demanded the removal of so-called smart lampposts that authorities say are there only to measure air quality, but protesters fear could be used to implement Chinese surveillance, including facial recognition technology.

The standoff came to an end after a hard core of protesters threw bricks and water bottles at police and officers responded by charging and beating some of the demonstrators with batons.

Several protesters were detained as officers swept through their ranks.

The violence broke an uneasy peace that had lasted a little more than a week. Hundreds of thousands of people had marched without violence last Sunday, as protesters sought to regain the moral high ground over police.

“I understand being peaceful will not solve the problem,” a 19-year-old student protester called Ryan told the AFP news agency. “The government won’t respond to peaceful protest,” he said.

Peoples Time/HG

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